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May 6, 2007 10:27 PM

Tokyo Eats

I'll be visiting Tokyo later this month. While I've visited several times before, this will be my first time where I'll have the opportunity to really seek out good eats. I'm looking specifically for tonkotsu ramen, okonomiyaki, udon, and sushi, as well as kaiseki and kappo options (per request of my mom). I'd like to get thoughts on my picks below as well as other recommendations. I'll be staying in Ebisu. Thanks in advance!

Kappo R
Ukai Toriyama
Tofuya Ukai

Ramen - Jangara Ramen

Sushi - Daiwa, Sushi Dai...if there are non-touristy options which are just as good, i'd love to get suggestions.

Okonomiyaki - Shichifukujin

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  1. With all of these, it's personal preference, but I really like Bochi Bochi for Osaka-style okonomiyaki. They don't put on any airs but consistently make good food. It's a chain restaurant, but they have a Hiroo location that's pretty close to Ebisu.

    For tonkotsu ramen, Jangyara is a decent choice. Again, it's a chain, and I'm sure there's better out there, but you'd want to go to Kyushu for the real deal.

    Daiwa zushi is a good choice for Tsukiji sushi restaurants. I've always enjoyed it.

    1. michiyo,
      having recently gotten home from a recent trip to Tokyo, I can vouch for Jangara's tonkotsu ramen, which I tried for the first time. It's a funky little crawlspace with a surprisingly big menu for a ramen shop. I went with the tonkotsu with everything, which included chashu, a hard boiled egg, lots of other stuff. The chashu and the noodles were okay, but the rich, flavorful broth is what sent it into the stratosphere for me. It came highly recommended by an Akihabara/Electric Town regular, and I'm glad I went.

      Have been to Daiwa on two occasions, and loved it both times. Had the Omakase, as that is all that I could afford, but, if I could, I would go again and again for their fresh Uni (sea urchin) and their Toro (fatty tuna), which I fell in love with this time. Not having noticed too many tourists at Daiwa - and, I must admit, I wasn't really in a position to notice, as it's a pretty cramped joint - I would say that it's hard to go wrong in Tsukiji. If you've never been, there are so many great little sushi joints, fishmongers, food sellers, ancient coffee shops and noodle bars, jammed into nooks, crannies, behind corners, up and down little alleys and labyrinths - it's like something in another space/time/era, a place where everything is simpler, and delicious. I would urge you to check it out while it's still around. Rumour has it that the fish market will be moving to a whole different part of town in a few years. Soak it up while you can.


      1. We had jangara ramen at their harajuku place -- it was great! and we went to fukuoka later on and tried a bunch of ramen places, but it still stood up to be among the best ones in our japan trip (one of my friends is a major ramen-oholic so we had ramen at least every other day during a 3week trip) very good broth, the egg cooked perfectly (which means undercooked by american standards), and roasted pork was melt-in-your-mouth.
        At Tsukiji we went to SushiDai and had omakase (all other 7-8 seats were taken by japanese (old and young)) -- uni was a revelation to my somewhat cautious bf, all the other chef selections simply delicious, and shirako while new to both of us is apparently quite famous among chowhounders.

        1. I went to Jangara Akihabara 6-7yrs ago when it always ranked among the top 5 or 10 ramen places in Tokyo. I waited in line outside IN THE RAIN with great anticipation. Their ramen was nothing impressive to me or my brother (I've been looking for exceptional ramen for years). My friend, a native Tokyoite, said there are many other places better than Jangara.

          Jangara doesn't rank high on the Ramen Database.

          As for Kaiseki (which I love),
          my business associate took me to Waketokuyama at Azabu/Roppongi last Nov.
          It wasn't bad, but she wasn't happy.(If I had to pay, I probably wouldn't have been happy!

          She said the main store at Hiroo (with a famous chef) is much better.

          I liked Shunbo at Roppongi Hills better

          though its rating isn't high

          Here are the rankings and ratings for Kaiseki.

          1. Ebisu was once considered one of the ramen mecca of Tokyo. There are several good original shops and a few of the best chains represented. If you want Hakata style tonkotsu, you can try the local branch of "Ippudo". It's not as bold and stinky as Jangara, but you can add your own freshly grated garlic. "Afuri" is a lighter soup place that uses mountain spring water. There used to be a branch of "Santouka", which is a partial tonkotsu broth, but I'm not sure if it's there anymore. My favorite chain, "Koumen" is about 10 seconds from the station. The broth is a more subtle mix of fish, chicken, and pork.

            10 Replies
            1. re: Silverjay

              It's there. At the intersection of meiji-dori and namikidori

              1. re: raji212

                There used to be a Santouka on a side street off of Komazawa Dori, in a small strip of shops at the base of the rather tall office building there, but it has been replaced by a miso ramen place, I believe. I don't see any Ebisu shops on their shoplist, so maybe what you mention is brand new- .

                1. re: Silverjay

                  Because technically it's Shibuya-ku, but that strip on meiji-dori is considered part of that ramen mecca:


                  * 150-0002
                  * 東京都渋谷区渋谷3-13-7 五常ビル1階
                  * 03-3797-3500
                  * 11:00〜翌日4:00 金曜、土曜 11:00〜翌日5:00 (定休日なし)

                  It's been there 10 years and will probably be there another 10, I ate there a month ago.

                  1. re: raji212

                    You're confused. You see, the Ebisu shop closed in 2006. It was previously at 渋谷区恵比寿1-4-1 in a small strip of shops next to the office building. It was the same immediate neighborhood as Afuri, Koumen, the rustic tsukmen shop, and a branch of the KitaKata chain. Here is a legacy review of what was- . You can go there in 10 years or you can go there tomorrow, but it probably won't be there. It's been replaced by a miso ramen shop. Ebisu is no longer a ramen mecca really. We interviewed the guy at Afuri for a NYT story and he discussed just this very topic....For ramen in Shibuya, I prefer Suzuran or Sakurazaka rather than chain shops.

                    1. re: Silverjay

                      Which article? I'd like to check it out.

                      I'm not confused. I'm telling you that that strip on Meiji Dori between Shibuya- and Ebisu-eki, all the locals have always told me is a great selection of ramenya and indeed most styles are represented and there are several of the best chains and original shops there. As far as I was told by many Japanese, that's the ramen mecca, so maybe your article got it wrong? I should know because my office was literally across the street, and all my workmates were forcing me go out to ramen at least 3 lunches a week. This was the perk of working at the corner of meiji-dori and namiki-bashi.

                      The only thing confusing is that I naturally thought that you were referring to this very strip of ramen shops, but you weren't, you were talking about the Ebisu station area, which is generically known as a culinary destination, but is and was a ramen mecca as much as Shinjuku station is a ramen mecca.

                      So yeah, we're not talking about the same thing,

                      1. re: raji212

                        Before they built Garden Place, Ebisu was kind of a dump and known as a ramen mecca. It's only become a culinary destination in the last 10 years or so. They're aren't any highly acclaimed shops on Meiji Dori these days and it's off the "ramen radar" really. A better corridor would be between Meguro and Naka-Meguro Stations, down Yamate-Dori.

                        I've watched many, many ramen programs, read all the websites, picked through the magazines, and of course talked with plenty of locals.

                        The best two original shops in Ebisu-Shibuya, in my humble opinion, are Suzuran and Sakurazaka- in that order.

                        1. re: Silverjay

                          I looooooove Sakurazaka

                          Kimi yo zutto shiawase ni
                          Kaze ni sotto utau yo
                          Ai wa ima mo ai no mama de

                          Yureru komorebi
                          Kaoru sakurazaka
                          Kanashimi ni nita usubeni iro

                          Kimi ga ita, koi wo shite ita
                          Kimi ja nakya dame na no ni
                          Hitotsu ni narezu

                          Ai to shitte ita no ni
                          Haru wa yatte kuru no ni
                          Yume wa ima mo yume no mama de

                          Hoho ni kuchizuke
                          Somaru sakurazaka
                          Dakishimetai kimochi de ippai datta

                          Kono machi de zutto futari de
                          Mujaki sugita yakusoku
                          Namida ni kawaru

                          Ai to shitte ita no ni
                          Hana wa sotto saku no ni
                          Kimi wa ima mo kimi no mama de

                          Aenai kedo
                          Kisets wa kawaru kedo
                          Itoshiki hito

                          Kimi dake ga wakatte kureta
                          Akogare wo oikakete
                          Boku wa ikiru yo

                          Ai to shitte ita no ni
                          Haru wa yatte kuru no ni
                          Yume wa ima mo yume no mama de

                          Kimi yo zutto shiawase ni
                          Kaze ni sotto utau yo
                          Ai wa ima mo ai no mama de


                          I like the 24hour ramenya down the street from Bunkamura near 109, what's it called?

                          Yamatedori, you are correct sir.

                          Additionally, I lived in Akasaka which had more than a few standouts to handle ALLLL the salarymen in the area, enough that I'd defintiely call it a ramen mecca

                          1. re: raji212

                            I proposed to my wife on the Sakurazaka referred to in the song.

                            1. re: Silverjay

                              Such a cad!!!

                              Sakurazaka is in Roppongi right??? your wife must be a native....